ATLANTA — A federal judge has awarded a default judgment to a pair of Georgia election workers as part of their civil defamation suit against Rudy Giuliani.
Following the 2020 election, Giuliani testified before a Georgia Senate committee that election workers were counting “suitcases” of illegal ballots in the middle of the night at the counting site at State Farm Arena, showing video that he claimed was the “smoking gun,” that proved his claims of fraud.
“The video makes it clear,” Giuliani told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot following the first day of those hearings. “They took ballots from under a table and counted them in the middle of the night. This is what they were doing all throughout the country. Luckily, there is now a tape of it.”
Giuliani then went further to name mother and daughter election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, accusing them of “quite obviously surreptitiously passing around USB ports as if they are vials of heroin or cocaine,” and said their homes should have been searched for evidence of ballots and USB ports, a federal indictment filed on Aug. 1 said.
After the hearings, Freeman and Moss received death threats and were even forced to leave their home.
Channel 2 Action News was in Washington, DC, as the women testified before the Jan. 6 Committee.
“She called me screaming at the top of her lungs, ‘Shaye, Shaye! Oh my God, Shaye!’ Just freaking me out,” Moss testified.
“I had to move out of my house because the FBI said it wasn’t safe,” Freeman testified before the committee.
Freeman said statements Giuliani made turned their lives upside down.
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“There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere,” she testified. “All because a group of people starting with No. 45 and his ally Rudy Giuliani decided to scapegoat me and my daughter, Shaye.”
In June, The state elections board found no evidence of fraud during the 2020 ballot counting site at the State Farm Arena.
The board also cleared Freeman and Moss of any wrongdoing.
In July, Giuliani finally admitted, he lied, specifically that he doesn’t contest that his “factual statements were false,” and contended he believed his statements were constitutionally protected speech so he was not liable for damages.
On Wednesday, a judge ruled in favor of Moss and Freeman because “Giuliani has refused to comply with his discovery obligations and thwarted plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Wandrea’ ArShaye Moss’s procedural rights to obtain any meaningful discovery in this case.”
Ted Goodman, political advisor to Giuliani, released a statement Wednesday about the decision, saying:
“This 57-page opinion on discovery—which would usually be no more than two or three pages—is a prime example of the weaponization of the justice system, where the process is the punishment. This decision should be reversed, as Mayor Giuliani is wrongly accused of not preserving electronic evidence that was seized and held by the FBI.”
Freeman and Moss also released a statement, saying:
“What we went through after the 2020 election was a living nightmare. Rudy Giuliani helped unleash a wave of hatred and threats we never could have imagined. It cost us our sense of security and our freedom to go about our lives. Nothing can restore all we lost, but today’s ruling is yet another neutral finding that has confirmed what we have known all along: that there was never any truth to any of the accusations about us and that we did nothing wrong. We were smeared for purely political reasons, and the people responsible can and should be held accountable. Throughout all of this, we have kept the faith, secure in the knowledge that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. But faith without works is dead. That is why we did not lie down and go away in 2020, 2021, 2022, or 2023, but instead stood up and are still working to see justice done. The fight to rebuild our reputations and to repair the damage to our lives is not over. But today we’re one step closer, and for that we are grateful.”
Freeman and Moss were seeking sanctions against Giuliani, accusing him of failing to preserve some electronic evidence.
The judge has ordered Giuliani to pay tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees.
A trial to determine the amount of damages for which Giuliani will be held liable will be set for a later date.
Giuliani has been charged criminally here in Georgia, accused of being part of a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election, with many of those charges stemming from that committee hearing where he accused Freeman and Moss of aiding in election fraud.
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